Councils told to review speed limits in housing estates

Speed limits in housing estates and residential areas across the country are to be reviewed following a campaign by the family of a six-year-old boy who died when he was hit by a car this summer.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe yesterday issued a circular to city and county councils calling for an examination of speed limits in residential areas and housing estates to improve road safety for cyclists and pedestrians, especially children.

The move comes following lobbying by Jake’sLegacy, a campaign group founded following the death of Jake Brennan who died last June when he was hit by a car outside his home in a cul-de-sac in Kilkenny.

Jake’s mother Roseanne Brennan, who heads up the campaign, has called on the councils across the country to convene special meetings to pass by-laws that would introduce the lower limit.

“We are really, really happy and this couldn’t have been done any better, but really, each county council has that authority already. We are hoping that the councils will do the right thing and call instant meetings to pass this. They have called special meetings before; they can call one and make this a priority,” she said.

Mr Donohoe said that his department had worked on identifying effective ways to improve child safety in estates, having met with the Jake’s Legacy campaign a number of times.

The circular sets out the results of a recent survey carried out by the department. It found that 14% of housing estates have ramps, 1.5% of estates have 30km/h speed limits and that €3,200 is the average cost to install an individual speed ramp.

The department has proposed a process for local authorities to tackle speed in traffic estates. It includes:

- Consultation with local residents to determine if they believe speed limits are too high in their area; nBye-laws for the new 30 km/h limits for the selected estates and zones to be adopted where needed;

- The use of a combination 30 km/h speed limit sign in conjunction with a yellow warning sign showing “children at play” at the entry to a housing estate;

- The consideration of other traffic calming measures, including the use of ramps;

- Monitoring of the new speed limits to ensure that the measures put in place are effective.

Councils have been requested to draw up a timeline for completion of the process and to submit the proposed timeline to the department by the November 7.


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